Arguably the most memorable line from WandaVision comes from an intimate conversation between the two titular characters. Vision asks Wanda What is grief, if not love persevering? It’s a question that sums up the entire show. Wanda’s grief following the events of Avengers: Endgame has manifested into something much bigger than herself.
When the series opens, Wanda and Vision are living the ideal suburban life in Westview, New Jersey. But all is not as it seems as they soon discover. The show takes the format of iconic American sitcoms through the decades to explore family life.
After a bleak 2020, I was desperate for some new MCU content. So like a lot of people, I anxiously woke up every Friday morning to watch new WandaVision episodes on Disney+. It felt like the old days of weekly television viewing.
Just one episode a week gave viewers a chance to process what they saw. As a result, an entire industry seemed to develop overnight around episode breakdowns, comic references and fan theories. So in between episodes, I had plenty to pore over. I absolutely loved the entire experience.
What I liked
Wanda’s losses were hinted at in the MCU movies but never truly explored. In WandaVision we actually get to witness her trauma around the loss of her parents, brother and Vision. This empathic storytelling was very effective in expressing the nuance around grieving behaviors.
The show sets up a lot of mysteries early on. Why is the show in a sitcom format? How did Wanda end up in this situation? How is Vision still alive? And this is a huge part of why the show is so enjoyable. The mysteries are revealed slowly and gradually.
Marvel showed great use of Disney+ with WandaVision. Using the streaming platform to flesh out ancillary stories and set up new tentpole movies is absolutely brilliant. The limited run-times of the big MCU features are no longer obstacles for Marvel’s storytelling.
What I didn’t like
The marketing for WandaVision was very effective. Fan theories ran wild every week and cast interviews only fuelled expectations. This was clearly intentional by Marvel as evidenced by key casting choices and clever word play in the dialogue. It was all very fun…except when many of those ‘clues’ turned out to be red herrings. This was pretty annoying…but fun nonetheless. I suspect many of those fan theories will eventually come to fruition anyway. But they’ll show up in the billion dollar movies as opposed to a streaming show on Disney+.
I also hope that the consequences of what transpired in WandaVision are explored further down the line. I was pretty disappointed that there wasn’t any real fallout for some highly unethical behavior. Hopefully future MCU projects address this issue head-on.
WandaVision was more than a television show…it was an experience. From the weekly format to the fan theories to the movie tie-ins. It was a great ride. It also gave Wanda some much needed depth as a character. The show’s exploration of her grief elevated her to being the MCU’s most interesting character in my opinion.
The unexplored comic book nods and dead-end teases were disappointing. So was the lack of consequences for some shady behavior by Wanda. Fortunately, being part of the MCU means that Marvel can address these issues in future properties. This only adds to the legacy of the show. I’ll be re-watching WandaVision years later when other MCU titles reference the show.
Source: Marvel, Disney+ (2021)